The Hamilton Spectator published two surprising revelations this week. The City of Hamilton has hired lobbyists at $375/hour to deal with Ontario politicians on the Red Hill Creek Expressway. At the same time, Dominic Agostino, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Environment, told the Spectator that the expressway project is "full steam ahead."
In response to these revelations, Waterkeeper has written two letters. The first is a Freedom of Information request for copies of all records, including reports, letters, memoranda, emails, and minutes of meetings since August 20 relating to s.11.4(1) of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act and the Red Hill Creek Expressway.
The second letter is to Minister Leona Dombrowsky marking the five-month anniversary of our initial request for a review of the expressway approvals. Waterkeeper also drew the Minister's attention to the recent (January 14, 2004) registration of Mr. John Matheson and Ms. Hillary Dawson of StrategyCorp Inc.on the list of active lobbyists of the Province of Ontario, writing:
We presume that you understand Waterkeeper's request for your position on the need for a review of the Expressway approvals is a question of law and not a question of politics.
Further, your parliamentary assistant was quoted in the Hamilton Spectator on January 22, 2004 stating that your government is committed to the project and that it is "full steam ahead." Is this the official response of the Minister of Environment?
Waterkeeper trusts the decision to reassess the project approvals would be made based on the merits of our application and the strength of the materials submitted by all parties.